The next generation of Google's mobile operating system has been glimpsed 'in the wild'; the pics may not be worth a thousand words, but the rumors that come with them promise some relatively big things.
In a post on the RootzWiki blog entitled "Ice Cream Sandwich First Look", readers got a first glimpse of "a Nexus S running a build of Ice Cream Sandwich". Among other things, the pics show a "brand-new launcher and app drawer...with what appears to be a task switcher icon on the homescreen, though it could be something else."
Meanwhile, AndroidPolice.com's David Ruddock also posted an "Exclusive Leak: First Android Ice Cream Sandwich Screenshots, Plus More ICS Details" with a few different pics from the same "reliable source".
Ruddock writes that "the big stuff is obviously all the UI changes - namely, blue: everywhere. But you can see that the notification bar has been totally revamped..." Later on the source admitted that ICS will be "mostly UI changes" but on the bright side, this means that "many older devices (< 1 year old) should be able to run it".
The current version of Android for smartphones (codenamed "Gingerbread") is 2.3.4, while the 3.0 (codenamed "Honeycomb") is a dedicated tablet version of the OS. There has been plenty of speculation whether Ice Cream Sandwich will be a 4.0 version that integrates both forks into a unified OS, or whether the tablet and smartphone releases will continue along different branches.
Ruddock's post displays a shot of the "About" menu and writes that "months of 'rumors' about what version of Android Ice Cream Sandwich will be have all either been clever trolls or totally unfounded speculation - because Google themselves have yet to decide what version number it is. Anyone from here on claiming to have information about a version number better be willing to furnish some screenshots, because ours clearly lacks such a number. And yes, it's very recent."
The pics may not have revealed much more than this, but the source (in which the posters "have the utmost confidence") confirmed that the ICS "camera now has a panorama mode" and that "Gmail has been totally re-themed to go with the new OS". The source also stated that the "Nexus S will be receiving ICS via update, but the "Nexus Prime" will be getting it first".
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